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Eric Clapton Tests Positive For COVID-19, Postpones Two European Tour Dates

ET Canada logo ET Canada 2022-05-18 ETCanada.com Staff
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Eric Clapton performs at the Royal Albert Hall on May 07, 2022 in London, England. © Harry Herd/Redferns/Getty LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Eric Clapton performs at the Royal Albert Hall on May 07, 2022 in London, England.

Eric Clapton is rescheduling two dates on his just-started European tour after testing positive for COVID-19.

The legendary guitarist, 77, made the announcement on Monday in a statement posted on both his website and his official Facebook page. Clapton's diagnosis is particularly notable because he has been a vocal vaccine skeptic and lockdown critic.

“Eric Clapton is unfortunately suffering from Covid having tested positive shortly after the second concert at the Royal Albert Hall,” Clapton's statement said. "He has been told by his medical advisors that if he were to resume traveling and performing too soon, it could substantially delay his full recovery. Eric is also anxious to avoid passing on any infection to any of his band, crew, promoters, their staff and of course, the fans."

The shows being rescheduled were set to take place in Zurich on May 17 and in Milan on May 18. Clapton had just begun his European tour with two performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London before announcing the postponement.

Clapton said that his decision to reschedule was reached "after intensive internal discussion", adding that the "present hope" is to continue the tour on May 20th with the first of two concerts in Bologna.

"It is very frustrating that having avoided Covid throughout lockdown and throughout the period when travel restrictions have been in place Eric should have succumbed to Covid at this point in time," Clapton's statement continued, "but we very much hope he will be sufficiently recovered by the end of the week to be able to perform the remainder of the planned performances."

Clapton told fans that the postponed shows in Zurich and Milan will be rescheduled in the next 6 months.

Scheduling woes have long plagued Clapton's tour. Originally slated for 2020, he delayed it to 2021 and then later to 2022 owing to COVID.

An outspoken critic of COVID vaccines, Clapton has claimed that he suffered nerve damage to his fingers caused by the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and has called COVID vaccines "propaganda."

The rocker also joined forces with Van Morrison, a fellow lockdown critic, in December 2020 to debut the anti-lockdown track, "Stand and Deliver". He went on to release a solo anti-lockdown song, "This Has Gotta Stop", in August 2021 that features lyrics such as, "Do you want to be a free man, or do you want to be a slave?"

Clapton even went so far as to spread a widely debunked conspiracy theory that suggests subliminal messages intended to compel mass compliance with COVID safety guidelines are embedded in YouTube videos.

Though he once said he would not perform at venues that required attendees to show proof of vaccination, he ultimately went back on his word when he played a show in New Orleans in September of 2021 that did have such requirements.

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